Guest Post: Healthy Apple and Cinnamon Coconut Crumble

Vegan, Wholemeal, Low Fat, Sugar Free

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Hey guys! I’m doing a guest post over at Smoothie Lover today with this recipe and a little about my food philosophy so go check it out!
Josefine’s blog is seriously beautiful. She makes healthy vegetarian food and her desserts are always amazing! I’ve been following her for a while now and am constantly impressed by how quickly her blog has grown and how lovely her photos are becoming. This apple crumble started life out as a simple way to use up all the apples in the fridge, but it turned in to one of the tastiest crumbles ever especially with all the coconut going on in there.

Also I’m sad about the photos. Everything was going along great until the sun decided to abort mission early and set at 4 in the afternoon! Before I’d finished taking my photos!! So please forgive the lack of an inside shot and just trust that it tasted epic. I’m going to try and do another post before Easter but if not, happy holidays guys!!

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 Some of the beautiful things you have to check out on Josefine’s blog:

Her honey and dried fig scones. The combination of honey and fig anything is just out of this world and combined with a scone!!!

These perfect raw tarts would make the best fancy dessert ever!

And the tastiest looking falafel recipe ever. 

Thank you Josefine for having me on your blog today! 

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A Healthier Spiced Carrot Cake with Maple Orange Icing

Optional vegan, low fat and refined sugar free

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 I was craving carrot cake like a wild woman this week. Every day at uni I would walk past the cafe eyeing those dodgy wrapped carrot cake slices covered in buttercream and almost ALMOST  buy one. 

But I managed to hold out partly because they don’t use cream cheese in the frosting (who even are they?!) and partly because I had no money…

By the end of the week, it was carrot cake time. At first I was thinking to myself you can’t make that, you’ve already made a banana carrot cake to end all carrot cakes on this blog. It was mile high and adorned with chopped nuts and creamy ricotta frosting! But that was a carrot BANANA cake. Subtle difference my friends. And a very different recipe too!(Perfect for Easter!!)

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When I was first coming up with this recipe I mainly wanted a carrot and cinnamon centred vehicle to transport cream cheese frosting in my mouth. I looked at lots of recipes trying to gather together the best of all, and I couldn’t believe how unhealthy most carrot cake recipes are! For something made of carrots I was surprised.

Just to be clear, my definition of ‘healthy’ is definitely not low fat or low calorie! Wholemeal grains, real fruit and unprocessed sweeteners plus some natural fats from avocados and nuts are much more my scene. However I’m aware that some people want to have their cake and they want to eat the whole thing too, without spending an extra hour at the gym. So this is my fat-free (almost) and refined sugar free carrot cake!

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 Sweetened with maple syrup and the natural sugars of the carrots, this carrot has no butter or oil in it (none!). I was feeling daring so when the recipe called for ‘butter’ I just subbed in a whole load of buttermilk. The recipe is based on the Moosewood carrot cake recipe, which is already a very wholesome and tasty loaf to begin with. It came out so cinnamon scented and warm and delicious, I could not even deal. Carrot cake heaven. 

The best part of carrot cake is the icing (can I get an amen please) so I didn’t skimp on that. Instead of using low fat or substitute; the cream cheese is mixed with half ricotta, which is naturally low in fat and high in calcium and protein. Mixed with maple syrup and orange zest it was so delicious! I ate quite a bit of it with a spoon (shh). Topped with naturally delicious and healthy nuts, this cake is perfect for breakfast as well as the best dessert ever. 

Also vegan friends, I’ve given substitutions below for how to make the cake completely free of animal products. I’ve made the cake without eggs and buttermilk before and it worked well, but I haven’t tried it low fat so if you do try that method, tell me how it goes!!

One Year Ago: Sweet Plum Jam

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 Healthy Carrot Cake with Orange Maple Frosting: Adapted from here

1/2 cup maple syrup

3/4 cup buttermilk (or for vegan, sunflower oil or half oil half vegan yogurt)

2 eggs (for vegan, 2 tbsp chia seeds mixed well with 4 tbsp water)

1 finely zested orange

1/2 tsp each cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and 1/4 tsp allspice

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 cup wholemeal flour

1/2 cup plain flour

1 + 1/4 cup carrot, grated

Frosting:
250g each ricotta and cream cheese OR cashew/coconut cream for vegan
1 finely zested orange
1/3 cup maple syrup
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For the Cake: Preheat the oven to 180C (356F) and line a loaf tin with baking paper. Whisk the 2 eggs until pale and fluffy. Mix the remaining wet ingredients (buttermilk or oil, maple syrup) together well. Stir in the orange zest. Stir in the grated carrot. Sift the flours and baking powder, plus the spices. Stir the dry into the wet ingredients and mix until just combined. Pour into tin and bake for 30-40 minutes, until golden on top and a skewer comes out clean.
For the icing, blend together all the ingredients well and ice the cake once completely cool. Top with chop nuts if you want!
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Vanilla Mango Frozen Yogurt

Gluten Free, optional Vegan and Refined Sugar Free

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 I hope you all had a Merry Christmas everyone! New Year is just around the corner and this is a super easy light dessert you can make in advance, for guests, or for you and you alone. I won’t judge.

I think I have a serious addiction to frozen yogurt. It started with lemon curd frozen yogurt, which was so rich and tangy I still dream about it sometimes. Then there was the berry and honey frozen yogurt, so sweet and refreshing. And the epic cinnamon and banana frozen yogurt! It seriously tasted like banana bread. I could not deal. But my favourite flavour by a million miles is todays recipe: mango frozen yogurt. My two loves combined in a beautiful marriage. 

I wondered whether or not I should post this recipe because it’s so damn simple and easy. I’m pretty sure a blind person with no hands could make this if pointed in the direction of the fridge. But I make it so often I realised it would be plain silly not to share it with the world. So go out there! Get some mangoes and full fat yogurt and get ready!

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I use mangoes because they’re my absolute favourite fruit in the world. And besides, the frozen yogurt in the photos was made with three mangoes out of thirty that had somehow entered our house with no purpose or reason…But you can substitute peaches or nectarines, berries or even banana. Just taste the fruit and adjust the sweetness accordingly. Look how yellow it is! I didn’t even adjust the saturation in these photos! Is that yellow or what?!?!

Now for the nerdy part. I sweetened my frozen yogurt with honey, which is a mixture of glucose and fructose sugars. Because of the levels of glucose, honey shares lots of properties with invert sugars (sugars that have been heated to the point that they remain in liquid form). Invert sugars don’t freeze solid, which is why lots of recipes call for glucose syrup in things like sorbet and icing. If you are one of those people that hates hard-freezing homemade ice cream and sorbet, you may want to add glucose syrup to your recipes. It’s a super high concentrated sugar so I don’t use it, but if you’re making something full of sugar anyway then I can appreciate the futility of also adding a natural sweetener like honey. Honey will contribute to a softer frozen yogurt, as will taking it out of the fridge 10 minutes before eating it, and chilling it thoroughly before churning. 

For glucose syrup, I’d start by adding about 25mls per litre and going from there. I’m not an expert in the matter at all! I haven’t even used it! But I’ve read recipes that suggest a ration like that with great success. Otherwise just leave it out and enjoy some naturally sweetened deliciousness with me! 

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 Vanilla Mango Frozen Yogurt:

3 very ripe medium mangoes, peeled and cut into chunks

650g (1.5 pounds, 23 ounces) natural full fat yogurt (or full-fat coya for vegan)

2 tsp vanilla extract

2 tablespoons honey

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If your mango pieces are frozen, let them thaw or microwave on medium until they’re soft. Blend up your honey, vanilla and mangoes into a smooth puree. Either add your yogurt and blend until combined, or use the fruit puree to swirl through the yogurt, whichever you prefer. Chill the mixture thoroughly before freezing in an ice cream maker, depending on the machines instructions. Eat either straight away, or take out of the fridge a while before trying to scoop. Enjoy!!!

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Vegan Coconut and Pear Cake and my 1st Guest Post!

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Hey guys! I’m doing a super exciting guest blog over at A Baking Girl today. This Coconut and Pear Cake I made for her was absolutely mind bogglingly delicious, so I recommend getting your bum over there and checking it out. 

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A Baking Girl is a really beautiful blog and like me, Rossi focuses on healthy desserts. She’s made some beautiful things! Including Healthy Chocolate Cookies and these Chocolate Mousse Cups that I want to inhale. I think her Strawberry Scones should be a necessary staple.
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Everything she makes looks amazing and her recipes are so detailed and accurate! I’m really honoured to get to contribute to her space. Hope you’re all having a beautiful week! And don’t get too excited but I’ve started planning my birthday cake. Get ready. 4

Creamy Vegan Mango Pudding

Gluten Free, Vegan, Sugar Free

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 Yay it’s officially my first mango post of the season! And my first mango post ever! I’ve already made mango sorbet three times this spring. I haven’t posted about it, because I keep on eating it before I have a chance to photograph it. One day my friends. I made this mango pudding as a little experiment with an ingredient I hadn’t tried before in the land of vegan mousses and puddings. And guess what! It was as creamy and smooth as the chocolate and peanut butter mousse made with avocados. It was thick and comforting, like the rice pudding from the other week. And it tasted of nothing but delicious sweet mango. The perfect mousse for summer! And guess what else? Each cup, which is about 220g of pudding, not a piddly little cup, is only 140 calories. 

What is the secret you ask? Silken tofu! I’ve heard of silken tofu in desserts before but never really given it a try. Now I really want to try making a silken tofu chocolate pie. And about a billion other silken tofu combinations some of which will probably taste horrendous. My favourite dish ever in the world at a restaurant is teriyaki silken tofu. Oh my gosh. I’m obsessed with it! So I originally bought the tofu to try and recreate that. Then my brain caught up to me and I realised that was very unlikely to happen, considering my inability to cut silken tofu without turning into mush. (Is there some kind of secret?!?! Please someone enlighten me!)IMG_7513

The other day my friend and I, after I will admit, quite a night on the town, really felt like a froyo. We went to a self-serve place (bad idea) and I bought half a kilo of yogurt with mango pearls on top. An entire pound is not a laughing matter. I have never eaten so much yogurt in one sitting and NEVER had the same tummy ache the next day like that night! It was worth every mangoey bite though, and it inspired me! Mango was the best idea for this pudding because it made it go yellow like those mango sago puddings you get at yum cha! And they pour the little bowl of condensed milk on top and put the slices of mango on for you. Bless their little yum cha souls. While I was eating this I thought how good it would be to get some of those mango pearls and put them on top! I don’t even know where you get them, but that would be delicious. As long as you don’t eat a whole pound though!

I found the basic recipe for this incredibly simple combination at Fresh Tastes. Really you can almost guess what goes into it, there’s only three ingredients. I think you could take this pudding in any direction you really wanted, maybe with banana and coconut on top, or honey and berries. Mango worked great because it’s such a substantial and sweet fruit. I added some agave syrup mainly to get rid of the slight soy taste of the tofu. I think you could do this with any strong flavour, like some coconut milk if you’re making a fruit dessert, or peanut butter if it’s more chocolatey. Oh my gosh. Peanut butter pudding! Caramel pudding! So many different puddings that I have to try it isn’t even funny! I seriously want to make this mango pudding into a layer in a multi-layered fruit trifle. It might just happen. This may be the beginning of a pudding phase. 

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Vegan Mango Pudding: Adapted from here

300g (10.5 ounces) silken tofu

120g (3/4 cup, 4.3 ounces) mango, sliced (about half a large mango)

2-3 tsp agave nectar, depending on your tastes. 

 

Blend all the ingredients together until completely smooth. Divide into glasses and chill until completely cold and set. Serves 2-3. The recipe can easily be doubled or even tripled though. 

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Wholesome Vegan Banana Bread

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 I had a friend in high school who bought a slice of banana bread from the canteen almost every day. Cruelly in year eight they stopped making the chocolate chip banana bread, as if removing that sprinkle of happiness would really make a difference to the health of the banana bread! But that’s not the point. Lot’s of people stopped really buying it after that, but not this friend. I remember it clearly because every time she bought a piece she’d get attacked and harassed by her friends until she’d given them at least half. And by her friends, I mean me. It was good banana bread, it really was.

But as we grew older, we learned to read the ingredients list. And with knowledge becomes great responsibility. It wasn’t a very appetising group of products they squeezed in there. One of the ingredients was beef lard, all I’m gonna say. After that I became a believer in home-made banana bread. Just as delicious without the beef lard! This banana bread today is one of the family recipes that makes the best banana bread (in my humble opinion). 

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 I know the title makes it sound a little…bland. But it really isn’t! The recipe is from the Moosewood Cookbook, which is one of my favourite cookbooks ever. So many childhood staple meals came out of that book. Vegetable ratatouille, Cheesy polenta, Bean Burritos, all the old classics. And this banana bread. I’ve mentioned it when I made these delicious banana choc chunk muffins. The recipe says to coat the pan in sesame seeds to stop it sticking but I used baking paper because we didn’t have sesame seeds. Also I had a feeling it would probably come out looking like a lizard bread, something I don’t think would photograph well. 

Can you believe I’ve had this blog for seven months and this is the first Banana Bread recipe I’ve put up? What is that about! Well partly the reason is that muffins are way easier to serve and photograph. I’ve adapted lots of breads before, like the sticky Banana Caramel Muffins that were originally going to be a loaf. Loaves have benefits that muffins can’t really trump, because you can toast them and put toppings on them. What is a banana bread without peanut butter and banana slices? Or ricotta and honey? You tell me. You tell me friends. 

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This banana bread is way healthier than your classic shop-bought plastic wrapped slice. It’s light but still moist and fluffy. The crust is super crispy and maybe my favourite part, because it’s so thin you don’t get that terrible hard edge that takes away from the squishy middle part. I adapted it to make a vegan version with vegan butter and chia eggs, but you can sub in normal eggs and super soft butter, or even olive oil. 

You can tell hippies wrote the recipe because there are a few rather strange instructions. Or rather lack of instructions. (I love hippies! But you can’t deny they can be vague! ) I should have known that hand whisking soft butter and eggs would end in lumpy egg-butter, but I tried it anyway. The result was a super sore arm from about an hour of trying to get the butter pieces small enough to combine with the other ingredients. And I couldn’t heat it up so the butter would melt because that would cook the eggs! So I’ve kindly amended the instructions out of respect for your arms. 

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As I’ve mentioned, this banana bread is great toasted and served with jam, nutella, peanut butter, butter, honey, ricotta, banana slices, mashed banana, melted chocolate, desiccated coconut, coconut cream, ok you get the picture. I could go on all day. But it’s also great plain and fresh from the oven. It freezes really well, lasts wrapped really well, and can be fancied up with chopped nuts, chocolate chips, coconut, seeds, anything you like really! 

 Here are some delicious banana bread recipes I’ve been drooling over this week on other awesome blogs:

Check out the amazing banana bread photography at The Munch and Crunch

Cookie and Kate’s amazing looking banana bread looks like it could feed multiple athletes

Almond Banana Bread by Bakerita looks amaaazing. 

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Wholesome Vegan Banana Bread: Adapted from Moosewood Cookbook

2 medium bananas (2/3 cup) mashed well

80mls (1/3 cup) brewed black coffee (NOT GRANULES – LIQUID)

3 tablespoons chia seeds mixed with 6 tablespoons water and stirred well (OR 3 chicken eggs for non-vegan)

110ml olive oil or 1/2 cup vegan butter, very soft

100ml (1/2 cup) maple syrup or 1/2 cup brown sugar

125g (1 cup) white flour + 120g (1 cup) wholemeal flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp each cinnamon and allspice

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Method:

Preheat the oven to 180C (350F) and line a loaf pan. Beat together the soft butter and sugar until fluffy, then add in the eggs, one at a time. If using oil and honey, just mix all these ingredients together. Stir in the mashed bananas and coffee well. Sift the flours, salt and raising agents, then gently fold into the wet mixture. Bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes, until brown on top and a skewer comes out clean. Enjoy! Serves 8-12

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Oat, Raisin and Chocolate Chunk Cookies (vegan and gluten free)

Gluten Free, Sugar Free, Low Fat and Vegan

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 This recipe was a long time coming. Don’t find this weird, but I often dreamt about these cookies, dancing around me in a little circle of deliciousness. Well, I mean I dreamt of what I imagined these cookies would be, if I had brought them into existence yet. After making ages ago Pastry Affair’s oat and sultana cookies I just couldn’t get them out of my head. They were seriously so good! So buttery and oaty and chocolatey. But they weren’t exactly healthy, despite what I tried to convince myself of with all those nutritious oats and chocolatey antioxidants.

I’m a firm believer in not making something taste bad for the sake of healthiness. It makes me mad when I see recipes for “birthday cake” which is actually a giant melon shaped as a cake covered in 99% reduced fat processed whip-cream sweetened with stevia. I mean come on people. What the actual *&#$. If someone presented me that on my birthday and I cut in to it expecting cake I would smash it on their head. 

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 So I really didn’t want to make these cookies until I could think of a way to recreate the buttery, flaky oat cookies in all their glory. What was the answer you wonder? Peanut Butter! Sweet and nutty food of the Gods. I referred to Gluten Free Vegan Girl’s recipe as well as Healthy Chef’s recipe and ended up combining features of both in what came out as exactly the perfect cookie that lived up to my memories. 

The cookies are sweetened with banana, dates and a tiny smidge of honey or maple syrup and they’re full of raisins and chocolate chunks. The quinoa flour makes them really flavoursome and adds heaps of health benefits as well, but you can substitute almond flour or hazelnut flour if you don’t have it. Similarly with the peanut butter, to make a nut-free version omit the butter and add in coconut butter or olive  or macadamia oil. Add an extra teaspoon of honey or syrup as well. They won’t have that yummy flavour of peanut butter but they’ll still taste great.
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These cookies are super healthy despite tasting as good as they do. The quinoa flour and oats have a much better protein content than plain flour, and the natural sweeteners take out all of the processed sugar and fats that normally go in to cookies. I love cookies, even giant ones full of chocolate and caramel, but I always feel a bit sick after eating them and still end up eating another one anyway…these aren’t like that. You could eat a couple for breakfast and feel fab, they have lots of slow-burning energy in them especially with the optional nuts and flax seeds. 

Each cookie is about 140-160 calories and don’t worry, this isn’t one of those recipes that says “makes thirty for each 100 calories” and you end up making eight. Twelve generous cookies easily comes out of this recipe. They do have a downfall, and that’s their appearance. Please forgive the very average photography today! Me and my camera were not having the best cohesion. Sometimes I feel really great about the photo aspect of the blog but sometimes I feel like a great big amateur struggling with every shot, stuck in awkward angles and lightings that are impossible to break out of. But they do taste great! And that’s all that matters hey? Hey??? So make sure you give them a go.

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Oat, Raisin and Chocolate Cookies: Inspired from here and here

130g (1 + 1/2 cups) rolled oats (not instant)

1 tsp cinnamon

60g (1/2 cup) quinoa flour or almond meal

60g (1/3 cup) raisins or sultanas

100g (4 ounces) vegan + sugar free dark chocolate chunks (or more dried fruit)

60g (2 + 1/2 tbsp) peanut butter

60g (1/2 cup) seeded medjool dates, soaked briefly in water

60g (3 tablespoons) honey or maple syrup

2 medium (1 cup mashed, 300g) bananas

1 tsp vanilla extract

Optional: 50g each (1/3 cup) flax seeds, pepitas, sunflower seeds or walnuts

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  Method:

Preheat the oven to 160C (320F) and line two cookie trays with baking paper. In a large bowl, stir together the oats, spices, flour, nuts and seeds, dried fruit and chocolate.

In a blender, combine the dates, peanut butter, honey or syrup, banana and vanilla and blend until smooth. Use a large spoon to mix the wet and dry ingredients together. Use an ice cream scoop or small ladle to grab even scoops of cookie dough and place them on the trays. Bake for 17-22 minutes, swapping the trays halfway through. The cookies are done when they are completely cooked on the outside but still slightly soft. They’ll firm up on the trays. 

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